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The Pope Passes the Torch

There are some leadership positions that are supposed to last a lifetime, such as the Supreme Court, being a King or Queen or the Pope. However this Pope, Benedict the XVI, announced on Feb. 11 his resignation that will take place on Feb. 28, shocking his 1.2 million Roman Catholic followers and the world. He is the first Pope to resign in 600 years.

The Pope, born Joseph Ratzinger, took the office in 2005 and has found himself unable to continue his duties due to health reasons, according to the Vatican.

“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” said Benedict, 85, according to the Vatican.

Based upon the current rules of the Vatican, there is a 15 to 20 day waiting period once the papacy becomes vacant.

Benedict has said that he plans to retire within the Vatican making him “hidden to the world.”

Christopher Dorner Autopsy

Justice has been rendered for some, as the body found after the shootout, standoff and fire at a cabin in the mountains of Los Angeles was confirmed to be Christopher Dorner’s.

Dorner, who wounded three and killed four Los Angeles Police Department officers, died of a single gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities after an autopsy on Feb. 15. Due to the fire authorities, Dorner had to be identified through his dental records, according to a CNN article.

Dorner was fired from the LAPD after falsely accusing his training officer of kicking a subdued suspect. Police say that after he failed in challenging his dismissal in court, Dorner launched a vendetta against the LAPD , targeting officers and their families.

Dorner released a manifesto that announced his planned rampage.

After almost a month long manhunt, Dorner was cornered in the cabin by law enforcement. The cabin caught fire after police launched tear gas into it, according to the CNN article.

Though the tear gas was flammable “we (law enforcement) did not intentionally burn that cabin down,” said Sherriff John McMahon.

Florida’s own Fireball

On Sunday, several onlookers were able to gaze into the tranquil night and catch a glimpse of a meteoric fireball that lit the skies of Florida’s East Coast.

Unlike the meteor that smashed into the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk injuring hundreds, Florida was given a view of merely a tiny fireball, according to an article in The Florida Times Union.

Thomas Webber, director of the Museum of Science and History’s Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, said that the event was not uncommon; the Earth is struck by meteorites “every hour of every day,” the only difference was that this meteor was bigger than most.

“This one wasn’t grain-of-sand size, which what most of them are,” Webber said in The Florida Times Union article. “When we get something a little bigger, that maybe has a silicate coating that ablates off as it travels though the atmosphere and takes some of the heat with it, they can appear much brighter and last a lot longer.”

At least thirty people reported seeing the meteor Sunday night.

There was only one Jacksonville sighting and some of the comments ranged from “I saw flames coming from it as it was falling” from a Delray Beach resident to was “Was scared” from a Miami resident, according to The Florida Times Union article.

Another Fallen Hero

Another hero has fallen in the world of sports as double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in his South African home.

He has been taken to court and been charged with premeditated murder, according to an article in the Associated Press.

In a sworn affidavit Pistorius has said that he shot his girlfriend by mistake, thinking she was a robber. He said that he felt vulnerable because he did not have his prosthetic legs on when he shot into the locked bathroom where he thought the robber was.

“It filled me with horror and fear,” he said.

After he shot he realized that Steenkamp was not in bed. He put on his prosthetic legs and bashed down the door. He ran downstairs with her to get help but she died in his arms.

The shooting has shocked the South African world and left Pistorius sobbing, softly, as his lawyer explained to the court that the incident was an accident.

A Republican Blockade

As President Obama seeks to piece together his advisors for his new term, his GOP senatorial adversaries have successfully blocked the nomination of Chuck Hagel to become defense secretary.

Hagel’s critics maintain that he is unqualified to become the leader of the U.S. military though he was a decorated Vietnam veteran.

His critics have stated their discontent with Hagel’s sympathy towards Iran, which has gone against international pressure to halt its gathering of materials to create a nuclear weapon. Critics also state that Hagel is not a strong enough supporter of U.S. ally Israel.

Republican lawmakers have also been able to put a pause on Hagel’s nomination with their dissatisfaction in the way the White House has answered questions in regards to a September attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. During the attack the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. Hagel was not a part of the administration’s response to the event.

Though there is no specific timeframe for Hagel’s nomination, there have been important GOP leaders that wish to see the process sped up.

“I don’t believe that we should hold up his nomination any further, because I think it’s (been) a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered,” said John McCain, Arizona Sen. and prominent GOP leader.

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